John Parry (Getty Images)
A career best round of 63 helped former Walker Cup player John Parry of England seal his maiden Challenge Tour title at the ALLIANZ Golf Open Grand Toulouse.
Parry, who started the day four shots off the lead in 14th place, posted eight birdies in a flawless round of golf to finish on 21 under par, two strokes clear of Portugal’s José-Filipe Lima.
The 22 year old collected €24,000 to move to 12th place in the Challenge Tour Rankings and within sight of a place on The European Tour, where his 2007 Walker Cup team-mates David Horsey, Rory McIlroy and Danny Willett currently ply their trade.
Parry got off to the perfect start with a birdie at the first hole at Golf de Toulouse-Seilh, in south west France, and promptly added a further four to reach the turn in just 31.
He picked up four more shots after the turn to move out of sight and so claim his first professional title in his maiden season on the Challenge Tour, having gained his card last year through the EuroPro Tour Order of Merit.
Parry, who made just two bogeys across the four days, said: “It’s the lowest round of my professional career, and I picked quite a time to do it! To be honest, I’ve probably played as well on the first three days, but I didn’t hole any putts from ten feet or more. Today, everything seemed to drop – I only had 26 putts. I knew I wasn’t making many mistakes, so when the putts started to fly in, I just grew in confidence. When I woke up this morning, I knew that if my putter was working I would have a chance of winning, even though I was four shots back.
“I set out to attack from the start, and when I was six under through ten, it was going pretty well. I thought I’d be leading by one, but when I glanced up at the leaderboard on the 11th green, there were five or six guys on 18 under par. But in a funny way that probably helped, because it made up my mind for me – I knew I had to keep making birdies. My target was to get to 20 under par, but then when I got there on the 15th hole, I thought I might need one more, so I was really pleased to birdie the 17th. As it turns out I didn’t need it, but it was still a nice cushion to have coming down the last hole.
“It’s good that I’ve got a week off to relax and recover for the next event, and obviously I’ll go there with my confidence sky high. I still need a couple of decent weeks to be sure of my card, but at least I’ve put myself in with a great chance. It’s mine to lose now. Hopefully I can join the likes of David, Danny and Rory on The European Tour. Seeing what they’ve achieved this year is obviously inspiring, and has given me the confidence to believe I’m good enough to compete with the guys on the main Tour. I just need to get there now.”
Lima has already guaranteed his card for next season, but the Portuguese cemented his second place in the Rankings behind leader Edoardo Molinari courtesy of a round of 67 which earned him €16,500, taking his winnings to €132,542.
He had briefly shared the lead after a birdie at the 13th hole, but a bogey at the 15th – combined with a birdie from Parry at the same hole – put pay to the Portuguese’s chances.
A round of 67 helped former Ryder Cup player Peter Baker of England to a share of third place on 18 under par, alongside Italian Federico Colombo and Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, who moves up to third place in the Rankings.
Overnight leader Antti Ahokas of Finland dropped back to a share of ninth place after he could only manage a level par round of 72.